Whether you admit it or not, Trinidad and Tobago is a small market. Our population is only approximately 1.4 million people. Usually, this is the number of followers celebrities in larger markets tend to have. In this article, I’ll touch on what qualities to look for in a local influencer and an alternative to using influencers.
What is an influencer?
An influencer is a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media. It is important to recognise the key element to an influencer actually being an influencer and that is they need to have influence within your target market. Ask this question first “Are my potential customers following this person?” then ask “Can this person influence my customers to purchase?”
It is important to note that choosing the wrong influencer can be a waste of investment in promoting your brand.
What to look for in an influencer
If you answered yes to the questions above then we can move on to choosing the right influencer for your brand.
The number of followers a person has doesn’t necessarily mean they have influence over these followers.
Take a look at their current posts. Is what they are posting aligned with your brand message? Have a look at the engagement levels on these posts. Who are these people liking or commenting? Are they your potential customers? What about if there isn’t much engagement on the posts?
While their unique reach is important, an even more important metric is if they are reaching the right audience. A smaller reach that is more targeted is much more valuable to your brand than reaching a larger but untargeted audience.
How authentic are the posts made by this influencer? There are “influencers” who now make a living posting on behalf of brands. Have a look at how authentic past sponsored posts are. In a world where consumers are more informed, you want to ensure the influencer you choose doesn’t come across as fake. You need to choose influencers who align with your brand and are willing to put in the extra effort to come across as authentic when promoting your products or services.
Knowing your own brand
I hope by now you realise just how important it is for you to know and understand your own brand. In order to choose someone to represent your brand, you as the market has to have a deep understanding of the brand you are marketing. From there it becomes easier to spot the right influencer and build that connection with their followers to grow your brand as well as theirs.
An alternative to hiring influencers
If you either can’t find the right influencer locally, or they are just too expensive for your budget you’ll be happy to know there is an alternative. This is what I usually recommend before going to influencers anyway.
The alternative is to build influence with your brand. Hiring an influencer is simply a shortcut to this step.
As mentioned above, you need to have a deep understanding of your brand and the audience it serves. With that knowledge, creating content to serve them becomes much easier. Ask yourself this question “what does my ideal customer search for online?” Create content to satisfy this customer. Give them the information they seek. It is not just about posting pictures of your products, but about posting content that shows how your product can fill the need the customer has.
It will take some time to build up a following but once you do that following will be filled with those who will be more willing to buy from your brand.
The main benefit of taking this approach is that your brand isn’t tied directly to someone else’s brand. Your brand will be better able to stand on its own.